Aug. 18, 2020 -- A musician awaiting a heart transplant shared a tender moment with his doctor before his life-saving surgery.
From his hospital bed, Sean Tiwanak strummed his ukulele and sang “Stand By Me” with Lily Stern, MD, at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles.
Tiwanak needed Stern’s help, and not just for his heart. Hospital officials say there were “spells of gloom” for the 53-year-old Hawaii resident. Tiwanak was physically weak and lonely, and he had tried to persuade many in the hospital to sing with him but did not find any takers.
Until Stern visited.
“And the first thing she did was hold my hand,” Tiwanak said in a hospital news release. “And I think that connection really gave me a lot of comfort, and that's what I needed -- the moral, human support that you don't necessarily get in a clinical environment.”
The two “instantly started singing together,” Tiwanak said. “And it was awesome. And she's so talented and sings so well that it just raised my spirits.”
Two days after the sweet duet, Tiwanak received a new heart. Cedars-Sinai said the surgery went “extremely well” and that Tiwanak is expected to make a speedy recovery.